Gone are the days when Lekhpals in India held land owners to ransom for records. Now with a click of the mouse, one can check records to ensure the land ownership right, revenue dues and make sure that records are not tampered by land mafias with the help of Lekhpals. The Revenue Board in India is all set to complete the first phase of the centrally funded project for computerisation of land records by the end of this year. The project to be spread over three phases shall involve satellite imagery in its last phase.
Work, which had begun in 1994-95, has been almost completed in over 90,000 villages of the state of Uttar Pradesh. In the remaining 6,000 chakbandi villages, the computerisation of land records is in full swing and expected to be completed within the stipulated time. Computers, printer and other paraphernalia have been installed in all 301 tehsils of Uttar Pradesh. Soon they would be put on WAN linking them with the Revenue Board headquarters in Lucknow. The Centre has so far sanctioned Rs 25 crore for the completion of the first phase.
The hand-written crumpled land records have now found their ways into the hard-disc, floppies and CDs. A few tehsils have already completed the target while those lagging behind in the computerisation of records have been pulled up. The state government has issued circulars to all DMs to meet the target. Khekhra in Baghpat, the parliamentary constituency of Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh, has topped in achieving the target in record time. Land records of all 50 villages falling under the tehsil have been computerised. The second-phase of the project would digitise Khatauni and Sajra (revenue map) of all 98,000 villages in UP. The Centre has already given its nod to release another grant of Rs 25 crore for the second phase. The state government is in the process of sending a formal request.
The second phase is the most crucial as mutation process will also be computerised. “It would not only automatically update khatauni/khasra numbers once changes are effected but also help in revenue collection,” claims a senior Board officer. The second phase may take another year and a half. So people may have to wait till December 2005 to see an end of ‘Lekhpal-regime’ when the Board finally put all the info online. It has already hired an agency to develop its website. Satellite imagery would be included into the third phase. This would help the Board to keep a tap on illegal land changes and help in updating and incorporating any change made into Sajra.